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Everyday Investing with Kernel

How can independent earners get more confidence around investing? We chat to Cat from Kernel about investment trends for independent earners, and how to overcome some of the big investing challenges that many self-employed individuals face.


Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you first got involved with Kernel?

I’m Cat – a Melburnian now living in Auckland. Prior to joining Kernel I was a financial adviser, so I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking to hundreds of people about money – something that is deeply personal for most. I joined Kernel from day one to help encourage people on the journey of wealth creation through investment.

When it comes to investing, what do you see as some of the biggest challenges for those who are self-employed, contracting or freelancing?

When you’re self employed or contracting, it’s easy to fall into the trap of paying everything else first and then wanting to save with what’s left over – particularly if you’re worried about lumpy income. What usually happens though, is despite our best intentions, the money always finds a way to be spent on other things! The best way to counteract this is to apply the principle of Pay Yourself First – where investing an amount for ‘future you’ is the first thing that’s done when any money hits your bank account. Luckily we know of some software that’s perfect to help with this!

A couple of things come to mind – there are some really diligent savers out there that are coming to realise the money they’ve worked hard to save, money that’s sitting in a bank account, is earning them nothing. In fact, it’s probably going backwards. More people, especially those that are a bit younger, are realising there’s better use for this money. The other main thing is seeing people just start and build from what they have - whether that be $100, $1,000 or $10,000, there’s no right or wrong place to get started. Investing is more accessible now than ever, and once you dip your toe in and see how it all works, it’s a lot easier than people often think.


Do you think that the investment landscape has changed over the last few years, and if so, in what ways?

Everyday investors are starting to learn and understand the benefits of index investing as the best way to achieve their goals. The growth of index investing in the US and Australia in the past 5-10 years has been huge. For example, in Australia the share of index investing in the market was about 15% only a few years ago. Now it’s closer to 25%. In New Zealand, index investing is still only 3% of the market, so NZ has a long way to go. I think this is a big ‘watch this space’…


Given the current economic climate, what are you seeing as the impacts to your industry, and how are your customers reacting?

The current climate is a challenging one – in that it affects people in many different ways. For some, investing may be the last thing on their minds, whilst others see this as a great opportunity. We have been heartened to see that the vast majority of our customers have left their existing investments untouched – clearly showing they understand that investing is a long term game and not reacting to the noise.

At an industry level, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out with the active vs passive management debate – now is the time for active fund managers to prove they have the edge. So far we have not seen that to be true.


Kernel is an index fund manager and digital wealth platform that makes successful investing simple. From as little as $10, you can invest towards your future in a way that suits you. Hnry customers can now create a Kernel Allocation to automatically top up their Wallet every time they’re paid into their Hnry Bank Account. Visit the Kernel site to find out more about their offering; to find out how to set up a Kernel Allocation, just click the button below!

DISCLAIMER: The information on our website is for general educational purposes only. It doesn't cover all situations and circumstances, and shouldn't be taken as direct tax advice. If you're looking for specific help with your taxes, join Hnry and our team of experts can provide you with assistance tailored to your business needs.

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